I graduated from K-State a year ago. Yes, it’s really been an entire year. Do you remember when you were younger and you thought “Once I graduate high-school, I’ll have life figured out. Before you know it, I’ll have a bachelors-degree, be married, have [insert number of children – to be determined by wife here] kids, have a successful career, and everything will just sort of fall into place.” Well, things have fallen into place – just not what I would have originally planned or dreamed up for myself. That’s okay – it takes some flowers longer to bloom than others – thankfully, it does not negate for their own splendid value, or beauty.
A friend of mine recently asked how I was doing, and I replied something along the lines of, “Well, things are good. It’s difficult to remain on the straight-and-narrow. Some days, the flesh wins. Others, I remain faithful. Still fighting the fight.”
For some reason, I’ve always had this idea of myself. Perhaps I’m an idealist – in reality, it’s most likely that I’m a perfectionist, optimistic-realist. A bunch of fancy words that basically mean I’d like very much to credit my goodness to myself and to believe that I am, indeed, capable of said, ‘goodness’ (whatever that is).
The humbling reality, is that I am, indeed, not capable (on my own). I’m not quite sure how many times God will need to patiently, graciously remind me, but I’m grateful that He does – even more grateful that afterwards, the gentle, amplified reminder of His grace follows.
Back to my incredibly frustrating ideal. It’d be wonderful if I could once and for all learn all that there is to know – to be perpetually blessed with wisdom and insight, then also to be blessed with the will, self-restraint, discipline, and prayer-life to move those mountainous obstacles. That’s my ideal. Turns out, it’s really not possible on your own. If it were, I’d be doing it, and selling you my “Five Steps to Success” book, but I’m not Joel Olsteen or Oprah.
But I know Grace.
Do you know Grace? Oh Grace, sweet Grace. Jesus. I know Him.
It’s easy to get caught up in the future. There is nothing wrong with visionaries. If there were, then there would be something immensely wrong with my genetic makeup. I’m a planner. There is, however, something wrong with letting your aspirations for the future, or assessment of the past, take precedence over the right-here-right-now. Why? Because Jesus, is right here, right now. In the heights, in the depths, Jesus is here. The source of your utmost joy and holding your hand throughout the depths of this fallen world’s agony – Jesus will “never leave, nor forsake you.”
Do you and I believe that? If we do, it changes our lives entirely.
If we believe that He will never leave, nor forsake us; if we believe that He has good plans for us; if we have tasted and know that He is good, then we can rest. Rest is an immensely precious gift in a restless world. And God desires to be that place of rest for you and I.
Will we rest in His arms? Will I rest in His arms?
The straight-and-narrow path is worth the daily fight. It leads to Life. Our victory, it turns out, lies within our surrender. If we can surrender our pride and submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading, then the LORD will go before us, and we become heirs to the Promised Land. The thing about the Promised Land – you’re walking on it – right here – right now. His Kingdom is already invading – it’s already here. For the sake of many’s salvation, He is graciously patient, waiting yet another day to pour out His wrath on darkness.
In the days, months, and years to come I want to learn more about abiding – about being present in the here and now, and about trusting the LORD in the moment, rather than impatiently grasping and fighting for my future. Would you join me? Would you pray that in my struggle with LORD – in my wrestling – that He would bless me, taking away my old identity and giving me an entirely new one?
So yes, I’ve been wrestling through a quarter-life crisis of sorts. And yes, I’ve let the flesh win a time or two (or three). But Jesus is still with me, and I refuse to leave the Church’s side. I will fight for the Lord’s Bride, just as I will one day fight for mine.
Rather than plan out my course and choosing “North”, “South”, “East”, or “West”, I’m learning to trust Grace’s direction.
Preach it and teach it,
but you’ll never reach it.
Purity died, then resurrected.
Now dressed in His perfection,
yet merely a reflection –
I’m learning Grace’s direction.